is one of several outlets reporting on this story, which is about a nine-year-old New Yorker who is being asked to withdraw from his library’s summer reading contest to give another child a chance at winning.

From the article:reading

“After Tyler Weaver read 63 books between June 24 and Aug. 3 to win this year’s Dig Into Reading competition at the Hudson Falls Public Library, director Marie Gandron told a reporter from the Glens Falls Post-Star that Weaver ‘hogs’ the contest every year and should ‘step aside.”

“Other kids quit because they can’t keep up,” Gandron said.

Tyler has read over 300 books since beginning his participation in kindergarten, and his brother has been the runner-up for two years as well. The library has proposed changing the system to draw a winner out of a hat so that all participating children have an equal chance, but Tyler’s parents have the support of at least one other librarian, quoted in the article, who said that if Tyler is truly the one who is most deserving, he should win the prize.

“My feeling is you work, you get it,’’ Casey said. “That’s just the way it is in anything. My granddaughter started working on track in grade school and ended up being a national champ. Should she have backed off and said, ‘No, somebody else should win?’ I told [Gandron], but she said it’s not a contest, it’s the reading club and everybody should get a chance.”

Personally, I can see both sides of this situation. But ultimately, I think the fault has to lie with the grown-ups. I have learned as a teacher that you should never give kids an option if you aren’t prepared for them to take you up on it. If this kid wants to win so badly that he’s willing to read 50 books compared to the 10-book minimum the article says you need to qualify for the end-of-summer party, then more power to him. You don’t want him to win anymore, then fine, change the parameters of the contest. But if you’re dumb enough to tell his parents that he’s why you’re doing it, then you should expect the backlash.

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  1. Why not extend the idiot librarian’s notion to other fields of endeavor? If a football team is dominant, ban it from the Superbowl! And why not ban dominant baseball teams from the World Series?

    There may also be a bit of racism here, too; these voracious readers are white kids and some of the library bureaucrats want an excuse to give black kids prizes. Affirmative action aka racial discrimination marches onward!

  2. I ran into a similar situation in high school. One class had a weekly contest for something stupid…I think it was alphabetizing index cards. The prize was a bag of Fritos. I won it 5 or 6 weeks in a row. What can I say, I was good at visualizing the alphabet.

    The teacher then asked me not to raise my hand when I was done so someone else could win. I complied. The girl who won that week resented me for the rest of the semester for, as she said “Pointing out to everyone that she was second best.”

  3. The point of the summer reading program is to encourage people to read. I think it would be smart for the library to switch to a random drawing. Not because the same person keeps winning, but rather because people read at different speeds and levels and the books they read are all different lengths as well. Having the prize be random encourages everyone to read and to read what they want instead of only the faster readers with the possibility of people choosing smaller books in order to finish more.

  4. To me, encouraging kids to read more books is the point, and an important one. So, rather then minimizing inveterate reading on the part of one kid, create some other sort of reading program where each child is not only competing in the larger game but gains some sort of reward as they meet ongoing reading milestones. So that the the more any child reads they are attaining goals.

    Drawing a name out of a hat doesn’t seem like anysort of way to encourage reading?

  5. Some contests probably have rules against winning the prize more than once, but unless the library does do they will have to take their lumps and watch the little boy win again. Or maybe not; people who expect to win might grow complacent and discover an upstart at their heels.

    Also, I would think you could game the system by reading short books. The kid could lose if he attempted books as long as Infinite Jest when others read The Great Gatsby. I think IJ had a footnote almost as long as GG.

  6. Combine the two (most books win, random draw) by putting one ticket into the “hat” (or whatever) per read book.

    The more books you read, the more likely you are to win (good, encourages to read more) but even if you aren’t the one with the most books [and know you don’t have a chance to be] you still have a chance to win (good, even if one isn’t the fastest reader, there still is a chance to win, keeping the runner ups interested to try).

  7. Actually, rather than “white kids” as Simes refers to them, in my area (Chicago suburb) the summer reading program winners are invariably those of East Indian descent.

    As to the contest in question, no you cannot change the rules after it is in progress, but you can devise something different for the future. How about a drawing from the top 25 or top 50 to determine the winner?

  8. Zora…I think its rather sad that you still cling to the patently false assumption that the only differance between white people and black is skin color….

    Sigh…anyone with even the slightest exposure to “the other half” knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the differances are beyond quantification…white or black…they are two distinctly different species, regardless of whether the scientific community is willing to face political pressure and admit it.

    Genetically, Gorillas and Chimpanzees are more closely related than are whites and blacks…yet we recognize them as two distinct species…the true racist is someone who refuses to acknowledge the differances created by nature

    But yea…no doubt the motivations here are 100% racial. Its New York for crying out loud…race is the single most important concern to the libtard way of thinking and New York is ground zero.

  9. @mjp – Fortunately, your mother-sister relationship has probably spawned a new species, limited to yourself. Meanwhile, we humans can move forward.

    As to the constantly winning kid, maybe they could retire him with a grand champion trophy and add a new rule that 3 wins = grand champion (retired) status. The kid gets something extra special and other kids can compete for the regular prize. Make the grand champion(s) part of the annual event, bestowing the yearly prize on the current winners or something.

  10. Good response Kevin…and no less than I would have expected in this overly-sensitive / apologetic world.

    What confuses me is that you obviously assume I am white…yet I stated no such thing in my post. I say you assume I am because had a black man made the exact same observations, nobody would have batted an eye.

    So I’m curious what exactly about my post led you to this assumption? Of course you making the assumption based on anything would suggest you agree with me on at least some level…if you truly believed the skin color myth you would have had to ask me my own color before jumping to any conclusions.

    Of course you can always pretend you have no idea what color I am and that your comments would have been targeted at me regardless…but we both know better. If you thought for one second I might be black, an overwhelming fear of being labeled as a racist would have kept you from having any sort of comment whatsoever.

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